Courtesy of VSU athletics:
VALDOSTA, Ga. – A Lamar Williams three-pointer with 9.4 seconds to go capped off a second-half comeback by Columbus State as the Cougars topped three-ranked Valdosta State 73-71 in non-conference men's basketball action at the P.E. Complex Monday evening.
Williams' trifecta came with 9.4 seconds remaining on the clock and gave the CSU (3-1) a 72-71 lead. After a timeout, VSU (8-1) inbounded the ball to Ricardo Lewis, who raced down the court and hit Tristan Crawford in the paint. Crawford spun and jumped in the air, but had to alter his shot, which bounced off the side of the rim. Brandon Bland grabbed the rebound and, after a foul, hit one-of-two free throws to seal the victory.
Columbus State trailed 45-32 entering the second half of play, but hit its first five field goals to cut its deficit to 49-43 just four minutes into the final frame of play. Valdosta State responded with a 10-6 spurt to increase its lead to 10 points once again, but struggled from the field throughout the half as it hit just 9-of-30 field goals during the half. Meanwhile, the Cougars connected on 15-of-24 second half shot to out-score the Blazers 41-26 in the frame.
Valdosta State never trailed during the first 20 minutes of play as it scored16 of the first 22 points of the game. Tyrone Curnell hit two free throws to open the game before Ricardo Lewis hit a three. After a Columbus State basket, Curnell added two more free throws and Marvin Dibble hit a three while Crawford added two of his four first half threes to close out the run with 15:22 to play in the half.
CSU fought back over the ensuing five minutes and closed to within 23-19 with 10:59 remaining in the half, but got no closer as the Blazers responded with a 13-7 run to once again claim a double-digit lead. Crawford hit two more threes in the final two minutes of the half while Lewis closed out the first half scoring with a jumper to give VSU its largest lead of the game.
Crawford led Valdosta State with 19 points while also pulling down a game-high 10 rebounds for his fifth career double-double. Curenll added 14 points and Lewis 12 for the Blazers, who shot 36.7 percent from the field in the game, its lowest shooting performance of the year.
Williams scored 21 to lead all scorers, including 15 in the second half. Donta Ridley added 14 points while Nick Gagnon and Chris Telesford finished with 10 each. Columbus State shot 51.8 percent from the field, the best by a VSU opponent this year, and blocked six Valdosta State shots, including five by Jeremy Grimball.
Valdosta State returns to action Saturday, December 12 when it visits the Spartans of Tampa in the Martinez Center. Tip-off is slated for 4:00 p.m.